November 17-23 

IDAHO

DIRTY DOZEN

The ugly just got uglier. Last week two of Idaho's most radical conservatives, Henry Kulczyk and Dennis Mansfield, announced the formation of "Marriage Yes! One man. One woman," a campaign to ban gay marriages in Idaho.

On November 2, 11 states passed constitutional amendments affirming that marriage is only between a man and a woman. "Eleven out of 11 states voted in favor of traditional marriage. Idaho was absent. We wish to correct that error ... and we hope Idaho will make it an even dozen," said Dennis Mansfield, who officially refers to himself as a "conservative TV commentator" for his weekly 30-second commentary stint on KBCI Channel 2.

During the 2004 Idaho legislative session, Representative Kulczyk (who was defeated in the May Republican primary and is soon to be a bygone) and Mansfield initiated a bill banning gay marriage in Idaho. Although the measure passed the House, it was swiftly buried in a desk drawer--literally--by Sen. Sheila Sorenson and never again saw the light of day.

If the amendment had passed the committee and the full Senate, it would have been placed on the ballot this month and only needed a simple majority to pass.

"Last legislative session a handful of Idaho's senators did not allow the people of Idaho an opportunity to vote on this issue. Eleven other states allowed their citizens to vote," said Kulczyk.

MOVIN' ON UP?

Bush Cabinet positions are opening up quicker than Starbucks, and once again rumors of Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne garnering an appointment to one of the coveted positions are circulating. Two Web sites, Govexec.com and Greenwire.com, speculate Kempthorne is in the running as a candidate for Tommy Thompson's post as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services or Gail Norton position as Secretary of the Department of Interior should either step official step down.

Should Kempthorne vacate the Idaho State Capitol for Capitol Hill, Lt. Gov. James Risch would ascend to Idaho's gubernatorial throne.

SUPERSIZED RIDES

Sport utility vehicle (SUV) registrations in Idaho increased 27 percent between 1997 and 2002 according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released earlier this month. SUV registrations jumped from 112,600 in 1997 to 142,700 in 2002.

THIS WEEK ON THE PROGRESSIVE VOICE

Smart growth in the Treasure Valley will be the topic on this week's edition of "The Progressive Voice." The show airs from 8 to 9 p.m. Thursday, November 18, on KGEM 1140 AM.

Jon Barrett and Elaine Clegg, co-directors of Idaho Smart Growth, will join hosts Gary Allen and Chris Struble to talk about current development trends and alternative patterns that would create more livable communities. The show can also be heard online at www.qualitysourcenetwork.com.

"The Progressive Voice" is a project of the Idaho Progressive Caucus. For more information, see www.idahoprogressives.org.

WEST

GRAND CANYON BIBLICAL ... LITERALLY

The Bush Administration has decided that it will stand by its approval for a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood rather than by geologic forces, according to internal documents released last month by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Despite telling members of Congress and the public that the legality and appropriateness of the National Park Service offering a creationist book for sale at Grand Canyon museums and bookstores was "under review at the national level by several offices," no such review took place, according to materials obtained by PEER under the Freedom of Information Act. Instead, the real agency position was expressed by NPS spokesperson Elaine Sevy as quoted in the Baptist Press News: "Now that the book has become quite popular, we don't want to remove it."

NATION

RUN FAR, RUN FAST

The 2004 Presidential Election was only two weeks ago, and already seven of the President George W. Bush's 15 Cabinet members have resigned, and more are anticipated in the near future.

While Cabinet resignations are de rigueur when a new presidential term begins--seven resigned when President Clinton began his second term--the resignations do not usually occur so quickly and massively.

WE REFUSE TO INTERRUPT THIS PROGRAM TO BRING YOU REALITY

CBS News fired the producer responsible for interrupting last week's broadcast of the fictional crime drama CSI: New York with news of the real live drama of the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. CBS honchos immediately issued a written apology to viewers blaming the "overly aggressive" producer for the interruption.

SNARKY QUOTES THE WEEK

"I mean they don't want some highbrow hussy from New York City explaining to them that they're idiots and telling them that they're stupid."

--Georgia Senator Zell Miller on the Nov. 9 "Imus in the Morning" radio show, on why New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is disliked in the red states.

"I'm not a highbrow hussy from New York. I'm a highbrow hussy from Washington. Senator, pistols or swords?"

--Maureen Dowd, New York Times columnist, responding to Sen. Miller's comment.

WAR IN IRAQ

U.S. CASUALTIES: As of Tuesday, Nov. 16, 1,210 U.S. service members (including nine Idahoans) have died since the war in Iraq began in March 2003: 943 in combat and 267 from noncombat-related incidents and accidents. Injured service members total 8,956. Last week 71 U.S. soldiers died.

Since President George W. Bush declared "mission accomplished" aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, 1,071 soldiers have died and 8,414 have been injured.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense

IRAQI CIVILIAN DEATHS: Estimated between 14,400 and 16,546.

Source: www.iraqbodycount.org

COST OF IRAQ WAR: $145,441,000,000.

Source: costofwar.com

--Compiled by Cynthia Sewell

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